Legal experts weigh in on balancing interests of creditors and debtors

(Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — In March 2021, Defense Order 28 went into effect, suspending the imprisonment of debtors. The government had implemented the order to mitigate the number of people detained in rehabilitation facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.اضافة اعلان

As the government begins to reassess its pandemic-era policies, Jordan News spoke to legal experts on the repercussions the repeal of the defense order would have on those it protects, and whether or not the defense order should be repealed.

According to House Legal Committee Rapporteur Gazi Thneibat, speaking to a local media outlet, Defense Order 28 protects an estimated “135,000 people”.

Another Lower House Legal Committee member, Zaid Al-Otoum, told Jordan News that it is important to strike a balance between applying the law and prioritizing the safety of the community.

Some experts said that in light of the current economic circumstances and the financial pressure on the public, the government should find a way to gradually repeal the defense orders to mitigate the harm to debtors.

For his part, Deputy President of the Jordanian Bar Association Nasser Kamal said a “balanced stance” should be adopted that doesn’t prioritize one party’s interests over another, while adding that “it is unacceptable for creditors’ rights to be deferred any longer.”

Kamal proposed a fund be established that protects creditors and supports debtors, ensuring both party’s interests are protected. “Safeguards should be put in place to protect people, rather than impose orders,” he said.

He also suggested that debtors be given a year to try to work out a solution with creditors before harsh legal action is taken, in the interest of the common good.

According to lawyer Samih Khreis, the only solution is to gradually repeal defense orders while concurrently exerting mediation efforts to resolve the issue between creditors and debtors, implying that the matter will be difficult to resolve on a legal basis without delivering injustice to one of the parties.

Khreis said Article 22, which stipulates terms for debtor’s imprisonment, has been in place since Jordan was founded, adding that there are “hundreds of thousands of creditors” who may be deprived of their rights because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Defense orders were issued to help combat the pandemic,” Khreis said, adding that while the prime minister has the authority to issue and repeal defense orders, he does not have the mandate to issue orders that contradict or cancel existing legislation.

Khreis noted that a defense order is an administrative decision that can be appealed before an administrative court, and in the event that the court believes a certain order is not directly related to the pandemic, it could be directly and immediately revoked.

Read more National news